Road chiefs show grit in big freeze

Clearing the Way: Rachel Crompton, the public realm manager, with Ridwan Musa (left) the operations manager, and Rob Wilson, the senior engineer
Clearing the Way: Rachel Crompton, the public realm manager, with Ridwan Musa (left) the operations manager, and Rob Wilson, the senior engineer
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The battle to keep the region’s roads safe has begun after the first significant frost of the year carpeted the county’s roads and pavements.

Highways chiefs have stockpiled 30,000 tonnes of salt and, for the first time, 30,000 litres of liquid de-icer which is used when the temperature drops below -8C.

Last year’s harsh winter meant Lancashire County Council spent £1.6m more than the £4m initial budget to cover gritting and snow clearance.

Rachel Crompton, who is the county council’s public realm manager said if temperatures plummet below freezing as frequently as last year, more cash will be needed again.

She said: “We set some money aside for winter but once you get into a bad winter you cannot say, ‘We have spent up, we cannot go on salting’. We carry on with what the winter requires of us.

“It might mean, for example, we do less tree work or we might do less resurfacing work.

“But when the weather is bad a lot of the other work cannot be carried out so we will carry them out in the next financial year.

“Last year we found some additional money from reserves and the rest of the money from work that had to be cancelled anyway due to the bad weather.”

Every time a precautionary treatment of the priority network is carried out in advance of a damp frost it costs £12,000 per treatment, while preparation for a wet frost costs £20,000. Preparation for snows costs around £30,000 per treatment and during periods of significant snowfall it costs £100,000 per day to clear it and make the roads safe.

This year a number of roads have been added to the priority route, which means they are treated in advance of inclement weather.

In South Ribble, West Paddock, Queensway and Royal Avenue, Leyland, have been added.

In Whittle-le-Woods, Town Road has been included along with Higgins Lane, Langley Road and Tollgate, in Burscough.

The county council will also be making widespread use of quad bikes to clear footpaths and off-road areas.